News Briefing - Monday, January 1st 2024
From US Top News and Analysis
These are the boldest bitcoin predictions for 2024 — one calls for a 1,000% rally to $500,000
Cryptocurrency executives are optimistic about the future of the industry, believing that recent high-profile cases and controversies are behind them. The market is seeing a resurgence of enthusiasm, with industry leaders predicting the start of a new bull run. Two factors contributing to this are the upcoming bitcoin "halving" event and the potential approval of a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) in the US. The halving, which occurs every four years, cuts the rewards for mining bitcoin in half and helps to limit the supply of the cryptocurrency. Historically, previous halvings have been followed by an increase in bitcoin's price. Additionally, there is growing anticipation that the US Securities and Exchange Commission may finally approve a bitcoin ETF, allowing investors to track bitcoin's price without directly owning the digital currency. This is expected to attract a wider range of investors, including institutional ones. These developments have prompted bold predictions about bitcoin's future price.
United States acts as top cop — setting the crypto standards for the world
The US government is taking a patchwork approach to regulating the cryptocurrency space, with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen), and the Department of Justice all working separately to enforce rules. Richard Levin, a partner at law firm Nelson Mullins, said these agencies have been among the most active globally in regulating digital assets and cryptocurrencies. However, much of their work has been done through enforcement actions rather than clear guidelines. The CFTC's latest annual report revealed almost half of its enforcement cases in 2023 were related to digital assets, while the SEC highlighted its crackdown on "crypto-related misconduct". The SEC has brought more than 200 actions related to cyber enforcement and crypto assets since 2014. Notable cases this year saw the SEC accuse Binance and Coinbase of illegal securities dealing, while Binance and its co-founder were also accused of mixing customer assets with company funds.
Tech stocks just wrapped up one of their best years in past two decades after 2022 slump
Generative AI, propelled by OpenAI's ChatGPT, gained significant traction in 2023 as companies like Microsoft, Google, Meta, and Amazon invested heavily in the technology. The chatbot allowed users to engage in sophisticated conversations by entering a few words of text, leading to its applications in various domains such as travel bookings, marketing, customer service, and software coding. Amazon projected that generative AI would generate billions of dollars in revenue for its Web Services division, utilizing the technology for inventory forecasting, transportation route planning, and aiding third-party sellers and advertisers with product pages and image generation. Share prices of both Amazon and Microsoft surged in 2023, reflecting the success of their ventures. Microsoft not only invested in OpenAI but also integrated generative AI into products like Bing, Office, and Windows. Their Copilot service gained prominence, establishing Microsoft as a leader in the early AI landscape. Furthermore, Microsoft reported record-breaking profits, with a gross margin exceeding 71% for the first time since 2013, attributed to increased data center efficiency and reduced reliance on hardware.
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From BBC News - Home
Queen Margrethe II: Danish monarch announces abdication live on TV
Queen Margrethe II of Denmark has announced her abdication in a televised New Year's address. She will formally step down on January 14, 52 years to the day since she became queen. The 83-year-old monarch revealed that the decision was made after reflecting on her future following back surgery in early 2023. Queen Margrethe will be succeeded by her son, Crown Prince Frederik. As the world's only reigning queen and the longest-serving current monarch in Europe, her abdication comes as a surprise to many Danes, and she is widely beloved in the country. Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen thanked Queen Margrethe for her lifelong dedication and service to the Kingdom. Crown Prince Frederik, known for his passion for the environment, will become King of Denmark and head of state.
Justin Welby: Political leaders should treat opponents as human beings
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has called on political leaders to treat their opponents as fellow human beings rather than enemies. In an interview for BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Welby warned against divisive topics and emphasised the importance of deep disagreement without resorting to destructive behaviour. He urged leaders to avoid wedge issues that turn opponents into enemies, and emphasised the need for reconciliation and the capacity to disagree profoundly on important matters. Welby also spoke about hope for a peaceful 2024 in his New Year's message, reflecting on global conflicts such as those between Israel and Hamas, and Russia and Ukraine. He stressed the importance of family as the building block of society and expressed hope for a healthier society in the UK.
Ukraine war: Zelensky promises more Ukraine-made weapons in new year speech
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has pledged to increase the production of weapons in Ukraine in his New Year address. Zelensky stated that at least one million drones would be manufactured in the country next year. He also mentioned that F-16 fighter jets would be delivered by Ukraine’s Western partners. Zelensky’s remarks came as fighting in Ukraine continued, with Russian-held Donetsk and the southern city of Odesa being attacked, resulting in the deaths of four people in Donetsk and one person in Odesa. Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin praised the Russian army in his New Year address but did not explicitly mention the war in Ukraine. Zelensky called on his Western allies to continue supporting Ukraine as the country faces a potential slowdown in aid from the US and Europe.
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From CNN.com - RSS Channel - App International Edition
Trump pleads not guilty to 34 felony counts
Former President Donald Trump's arraignment in a New York state court on Tuesday will not be broadcast by news outlets, according to a judge's ruling. Judge Juan Merchan stated that while the arraignment is a public proceeding, cameras are typically not allowed in Manhattan courtrooms. However, he will permit five pool photographers to capture still photos before the proceedings formally commence. Several media organizations, including CNN, had requested permission to broadcast the historic event. Trump's lawyers supported the judge's decision to reject the media's request for live cameras. The arraignment will see the unsealing of criminal charges against Trump, stemming from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's investigation into hush-money payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump maintains his innocence and his legal team plans to contest the charges. Trump is currently in Manhattan in anticipation of the arraignment.
Haberman reveals why Trump attacked judge and his family in speech
CNN political contributor Maggie Haberman delves into the motivations behind former President Donald Trump's attacks on a judge and his family during a speech at his Mar-a-Lago resort after being arraigned on felony charges. Haberman suggests that Trump's base is driven by a sense of grievance and victimhood, causing him to attack individuals he perceives as standing in his way. In this case, the judge presiding over his case and his family became targets. Haberman notes that Trump uses these attacks to rally his supporters and create a narrative that he is being unfairly targeted by a biased judicial system. She points out that Trump has a long history of going after judges and undermining the authority of the courts, particularly when he feels his interests or agenda are at stake. Haberman's analysis sheds light on Trump's tactics and the underlying emotions that fuel his attacks on those who challenge him.
Russian authorities detain suspect over St. Petersburg cafe blast
Ukraine has received the first installment of $2.7 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as part of a new four-year extended arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF). The IMF approved the program, totaling around $15.6 billion, on Friday, which forms part of a $115 billion support package for Ukraine. The funds aim to stabilize Ukraine's fiscal, external, price, and financial conditions and support economic recovery, while also strengthening institutions and promoting long-term growth. The program will enable Ukraine to implement more ambitious structural reforms. This EFF loan is the first major conventional financing program the IMF has approved for a country involved in a large-scale war. However, the risks associated with the arrangement are described as "exceptionally high," according to Gita Gopinath, the first deputy managing director of the IMF. The success of the program is contingent on securing external financing on concessional terms to address fiscal and external financing gaps and restore debt sustainability.